History, politics, people of Oly WA

Month: June 2005 (Page 1 of 2)

KC Dem Convention thoughts

We all can agree that if more people were involved in political parties, political parties would be stronger. Andrew and I can agree that stronger and more inclusive political parties would benefit the democratic process.

The problem comes along now as the parties try to grapple with the new Top Two primary in their current state. Right now, the parties aren’t exactly the most open organizations around, and it looks like their King County parties are nominated county council candidates that probably won’t get beyond the Top Two primary in September.

The Top Two conventions for both the GOP and the Democrats proved one thing, that in this crazy world, it counts more to motivate people than raise money. In my humble opinion, that is what matters most in politics, or should matter most. Unfortunately, Bob Ferguson and Steve Hammond are likely to get beat in September because people matter little in elections, it is money that counts. And, if Edmonds and Dunn can get on the ballot (we’ll see what the federal courts have to say later), money may very well trump people.

I guess my point though is that it shouldn’t be that way, people should matter more than money.

And, political parties have a lot to say about to what point people can be involved in the democratic process. In short, political parties should be a significant conduit for people to easily involve themselves.

Think yourself a Democrat, though, and show up to the King County convention last weekend, you wouldn’t have had any say on who was nominated. It was PCOs only that could vote.

In a way, that is an open nomination process, because, all King County residents could vote for PCOs. But, how many of Democrats in King County knew they were electing nominators last fall? Either way, there aren’t enough people who are active in political parties for nominations to mean anything really right now.

Now, if we had half the turnout and the exact same setup that we had for the presidential caucuses for the county conventions this year, that would be an entirely different bowl of noodles.

Other King County Dem Convention stuff:
NPI Blog: KCDCC media coverage
NPI Blog: Summary of the KCDCC Winners
Pleasing to Remember:The King County Democrats Nominating Convention

Maybe a bit too hasty on the new DNC website

Two folks I respect and like to read came up with different takes on the democrats.org. Matt Singer and Julie at Red State Rebels both liked it way more than I did. Julie says:

There’s also the opportunity to invest $20 a month in DNC “Democracy Bonds,” with the quip, “you don’t get any money back – but you do you get your country back.” Howard Dean bought the first bond today, renewing his campaign idea of building a party fueled by many small donors. “You can decide to commit more money per month, depending on what you can afford, but the principle is democratic with a small-d — one person, one bond. Every person can be a stakeholder in our party,” the website says.

And, she has a good point, Democracy Bonds do what I and a lot like me want to see, campaign finance reform the only way it has to work, by regular folks giving small amounts regularly, investing in Democracy. I’m a bit jaded and I really want to see a meetup like tool.

But still, Democracy Bonds rock.

Olympia blogs (over to the right and down)

At another blog I did once, but gave up on, I had a list of blogs from Olympia. I’m trying that list again.

Its pretty cool after a few years how many people I couldn’t find, and how many more there actually are. I didn’t look very hard, but I got a pretty good list in under 20 minutes. Some of my favorites are still out there (Flummel…, Atomic Raygun) and some are still there, but haven’t been updated for awhile, but I listed them for old times sake (Making Mistakes).

Some new cools ones are Lacey Libertarian. If you go to his blog, its titled Puget Sound Libertarian, but his url is way cooler. Just something about being a Lacey Libertarian that sounds good to me, maybe its the alliteration.

Best name? The Pillow Farm. And, I don’t know why.

Hopefully democrats.org gets better than this

Man, that wasn’t much of an improvement.

The design is certainly, uhmmm, shiny, but the content isn’t all that differerent from the old, clunky democrats.org

Democracy Bonds? Huh? Is this just a dedicated fundraising tool for the 50-state strategy? It seems like a “I’ll give $20 a month” sort of thing, but its not particularly inventive, not what I expected at all.

And, democrats.org/meetup is totally gone, I think meaning they have no plans on resurecting it, which was my hope. Or at least providing a similar tool, like house parties or something.

Surpringly, the blog didn’t get much of an update either. At least, they could link to some of the blogs the state parties have up.

One things includes the local portion. The Western section almost reads like westerndemocrat.com.

But, I’ll say it again for anyone hasn’t gotten it, Give Us A Meetup.com Like Tool!

What will the new DNC website be?

For the last few days I’ve been seeing a new splash page on democrats.org, and it seems like that about this time Monday, I’ll know what the brand new DNC website is all about:

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a special splash page on Democrats.org for the past few days. Tonight we’re working on re-launching Democrats.org so that we can bring you a better and more powerful website that’s built entirely around the Democratic community.

So sit tight, and when you wake up in the morning, come right back here and see the new website built with you in mind.

You want to know what I want Santa “New DNC Website” to bring me? A tool, like meetup.com, for Democrats to organize online and meet offline. But, I bet you already knew that.

Hopefully, the new website won’t be a prettier version of what is already up there, which is a pretty shallow and pretty useless for the typical Democrat. Sites like mydd.com, and deanforamerica.com have done a lot more than democrats.org.

Getting my Meetup poster on

I just posted two posters to advertise the Oly Democratic Party meetup, one with the slogan “Get your democracy on,” and another “Exercise Your Democracy Muscles.”

I know, kind of cutesie, but it is what came to mind. If you have another slogan you like, just shoot it over to me, and I’ll put together a poster. The little tabs on the bottom are meant to be cut so they can be torn off, like a “room for rent” poster.

Parties should be grassroots, not air forces

Reed Davis, the former chair of the King County GOP, writes a very interesting piece on the Top Two primary and the nature of parties in the Northwest Progressive Institute blog this morning:

…a real party is not a national or even a state committee. Those are professional organizations whose primary function is fundraising; whatever else they may be, they are most certainly not volunteer organizations whose primary function is to mobilize voters on behalf of candidates.

When I speak of the importance of parties, then, the parties I have in mind are the grassroots organizations that exist for the sake of, well, real people, and not political professionals.

Throughout the piece, he seems to be contradicting himself, saying that what parties are now (grassroots apparently) is what is being defended when the parties decided to sue to overturn the Top Two primary. But, what is actually being defended is the system of professional parties, fund raising entities that don’t put much focus on grassroots.

The Top Two at least has forced the parties in King County to accept candidates that couldn’t race money, but could organize people:

Interestingly enough, in order to avoid the possibility of members of the same party running against one another in the general election, both the King County Republicans and the King County Democrats (as well as county organizations for both parties statewide) have met in order to nominate just one candidate for the general election.

That not only preserves voter choice for the general election, it strengthens local parties: now a good candidate is someone who is capable of mobilizing, organizing and appealing to the greatest number of real live people, not someone who is simply capable of raising the most amount of money.

We have designed a system that is today exactly backwards: we tend to place our parties at the disposal of the candidate who can raise the most money rather than giving our money to the candidate who proves that he or she can mobilize the most people.

On the other hand, the GOP candidate that had the money, essentially representing the professional political class, is thinking about bucking the party and running anyway.

I agree with Andrew at NPI that parties do a lot of good, and that politics would be dismal without them. What I don’t agree with necessarily is that chucking the Top Two is a way to build the parties.

Simply put:

It isn’t enough to vote. It isn’t enough to give money even. You have to be part of the Party. And the Party should be so damn open that you want to be involved.

July meet up: Framing Healthcare and I-336 and I-330

In June, we started an interesting discussion on the writings of George Lakoff and how to frame progressive values. In July, we will practice our new skills by framing the issue of Healthcare from a progressive point of view. The specific issues brought up by initiatives 336 and 330 will guide our discussion.

Don’t forget to bring a friend!

Tuesday, July 12 from 7 to 9 p.m.
Olympia Center
222 Columbia St NW
Olympia, WA
Room 101 (first floor)

Yes on 336
Yes on 330
General discussion on framing healthcare

This is a meeting for Democrats in Thurston County who want a “low impact” informative meeting to discuss topics of the day and to get more involved in the Democratic Party.

Also, just a short update on the progress we’ve been making with moving away from meetup.com. I’ve been talking with Christi McGinley, the county party’s webmaster, and she has begun work on a new webpage. Eventually, we will use an email list hosted by the county party and post meetup information there.

Boy, I sure hate the public too

For the second time in a year, the Yelm City Council has said that they don’t want to hear from the public their opinion on the most pressing issues affecting the city. I’m not really sure about Wal-Mart in Yelm, but for Pete’s sake, not wanting to hear from your constituents? Wow:

“It’s the council’s meeting. They can decide what they want to hear and what they’re tired of hearing,” the attorney said. “It’s maybe not good political practice to hush people.”

Rivas said it’s optional to even have a public comment period. Yelm’s council meetings include 15 minutes for public comment.

“You can understand if you’re barraged for two months at meetings — the same people saying the same thing,” Dille said. “The other issue is talking about Wal-Mart now that the application has been submitted.”

Blocking discussion of Wal-Mart in general is a way to keep the council members from appearing prejudiced against the store, since an appeal of the project could come before the council, Dille said.

“They should not be speaking at all about it,” Dille said.

From a “I’m getting really bored at this meeting” point of view, I can understand the city council’s feelings on this. When I was a reporter, I used to get bored out of my mind at the same three guys that used to show up to this one city’s council meeting. Always talking about the same stuff, YAAAAAAAAAWWN. Just wait for it to get over.

While its easy to overlook the crazies, its a bad thing not to notice that these guys are doing what we should all be doing. We should all, from time to time, get up in front of our city, county, whatever and give them a piece of our mind. And, if it just happens to be about something that they have heard a lot about, well tough cookies, you’re going to listen to me.

This is why I have a soft place in my heart for the city of Olympia, that apparently takes this so seriously, we have regular town hall meetings, which are essentially very long public comment periods. Yeah Olympia!

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